Global Entrepreneur In Residence (GEIR)

Global Cleveland’s GEIR program provides foreign-born entrepreneurs with early-stage start-ups the opportunity to launch their entrepreneurial endeavors in Northeast Ohio.

Global Entrepreneur In Residence (GEIR)

GEIR provides a unique opportunity for international entrepreneurs to start and grow their business in Northeast Ohio, all while receiving access to valuable resources and a cap-exempt H1-B visa.

Our GEIR program is the only program of its kind in the state of Ohio, and is proudly sponsored by The Gund Foundation and JumpStart.

Are You A Foreign-Born Entrepreneur With A Business Plan or Start-Up? Apply Today!

If you are a international student entrepreneur at the ideation or startup phase, please apply using the following application. We accept applications on a rolling basis.

Apply for GEIR


Your contribution to Global Cleveland’s GEIR program helps keep international entrepreneurs in Cleveland. An investment in GEIR is an investment in
Northeast Ohio's economy.

Contact Us To Learn About Supporting GEIR


If you are a university with international students, provide technical assistance or mentoring for entrepreneurs in various fields, and want to become an affiliated partner, please contact us using the button below.

Contact Us To Become A Partner

How GEIR Works - From Application to Launch

Learn how Global Cleveland operates our GEIR program

Our program manager meets with possible founder candidates who want to move to Cleveland. Candidates include international seniors (graduate or undergraduate) at universities who want to start a company and newcomers with an idea who don’t have work permission pathways.

Founders submit their business plan/idea for evaluation by a 7-person committee made up of stakeholders and independent experts.

Founders are selected and onboarded.

Founders spend 8-10 hours a week supporting Global Cleveland’s entrepreneurial work or that of the school. Other time is spent developing their company.

Universities lend resources such as:

  • Market research
  • Maker spaces
  • Evaluative feedback

Local resources are also available to founders, like VC networks and incubators.

Within 12-18 months the founder transitions to an O-1A visa once enough capital has been raised.

Explore Our Videos to Learn More About GEIR

Meet Our First GEIR Recipient

Aaron George | Supply Now

Aaron George is the founder of SupplyNow, a company that services food suppliers by searching, shopping, and delivering anything a restaurant needs.

Born in Dubai, Aaron moved to Cleveland in 2015 and began attending Case Western Reserve University, where he studied civil engineering and business management. In 2019, Aaron began his company, SupplyNow.

Since the business’ conception, Aaron has completed several rounds of venture capital fundraising that raised around $660,000 for Supply Now. The company employs over 17 local individuals as of November 2022.

The Benefits of Our Community Partner Model

Our GEIR program partners with colleges and universities in the region. Thanks to these partnerships, we maximize the applicant pool and expand access to resources for our founders.

Our partnerships with local higher education institutions help us:

  • address the dramatic gap in talent retention of international students after graduation
  • satisfy the lack of resources specific to startups founded by international newcomers
  • maximize our GEIR applicant pool
  • create a partnership that provides an H1-B Visa cap exemption

Global Cleveland’s status as a non-profit organization provides various benefits for our university partners, including:

  • the ability to use GEIR as a recruiting tool for international students
  • a low-risk opportunity to engage in entrepreneurial ventures
  • proof of a commitment to supporting immigration, integration, and Cleveland’s economic development

Meet Our Community Partners

Contact Us To Become A Partner

Gains of the GEIR Program

Short Term Gains

  • The founding of new companies in Northeast Ohio.
  • The retention of more international students after graduation. We are currently only retaining 5% of international student graduates - let's grow this number!
  • The creation of local jobs for Northeast Ohio natives as well as international newcomers.

Long Term Gains

  • The creation of a widespread culture of entrepreneurism.
  • The creation of a win-win situation for university partners and the Northeast Ohio region.
  • The opportunity for long term population change.

Thank you to our GEIR sponsors!